Gender issues, like all other areas in desperate need of attention, are largely ignored in Nigeria, especially among youth. Tis bifurcation between youth issues and gender issues is an unnecessary one, of course. One would think that young girls are bubble-wrapped until they attain adulthood, that most women are not, from birth, affected by the privileges or otherwise that shield or expose them to the harshest that society has to offer. Privilege that shields one of the harshest consequences of womanhood is something that not a lot of Nigerian women have, and changes the possibility of her life when she does. But a society where most women are thought to have inherited or married into their privilege — surely, they couldn’t have earned it — most women’s hold on what their current status affords is a tenuous one. Where such issues as rights to education to consensual marriages are not a given, and trafficking and genital mutilation still occur, a woman’s self-possession is a political act. As such, the violence inflicted on that body, doubly so.
November 25th marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which ends on the 10th of December. NigeriansTalk contributors will ponder the societal question posed by gender-based violence, and what it tells us about power distribution in Nigeria. I encourage you to join us in discussion throughout this series.